Thursday, March 6, 2014

Coffee in the classroom

The student was sitting at the back of the classroom. On the floor, a water boiler, plugged into the wall outlet. On a desk, a Chemex coffee maker. He was making coffee, and I realized that I would have to revise my syllabus.

And then I woke up. Yes, it was only a dream.

In the waking world, my syllabi have a statement about decorum that reads like so:

The atmosphere in our class should be serious — not somber or pretentious, but collegiate and genuinely intellectual. No eating, sleeping, talking, texting, or doing work for other classes. No headphones, iPods, or phones. Electronic devices should be off and out of sight before class begins. Please show respect for our community of learning.
At one point my syllabi prohibited knitting: it had become a thing. Times change, and syllabi change with them.

Related reading
All OCA dream posts (Pinboard)

comments: 8

Elaine said...

Eminently reasonable.
In my college/grad school experiences, I resented it when the professor did not assert his or her authority and enforce appropriate behavior.

I wish I could take a class from you.

Michael Leddy said...

I’ll take that compliment, with thanks.

(Scary that you should have to mention appropriate behavior in relation to grad school.)

Slywy said...

I meant to ask you about this, after I saw a comedy scene in which students typing simultaneously on their laptops was used as a visual gag — do you allow laptops? Or are notes taken on — gasp! — paper?

Michael Leddy said...

Sometimes a student will take notes on a tablet. And when a class meeting is a writing workshop, students are welcome to bring laptops. But generally, no, no devices. That seems to be pretty much the local norm.

Fresca said...

My first day in college, I asked if I could smoke in the classroom.

The prof asked, "Anyone mind?" and no one said anything, so he said, "Go ahead."

This was the late '70s.

Michael Leddy said...

I remember smoking in class as a student (starting in 1975) and then as an instructor. It was a way of life. We’d crush the butts on the floor, and no one thought anything of it.

Fresca said...

... except the janitor. :)

Michael Leddy said...

True. But I remember sweeping up cigarette butts in the discount department-store where I worked while in college. I never thought anything of it. Imagine: smoking while shopping.

Which reminds me: when a seedy local supermarket moved to a new building, my wife joked that it was taking so long because they had to put in the cigarette butts.